pablo and maria

I love summer. I love the smell of chlorine on my kids skin and sunscreen and an excuse to eat ice cream every single day. Not setting the alarm and no nagging papers that I should be grading. Time to actually eat breakfast. To stay up late. Time to put away the laundry and be completely caught up on my TiVo daily. Going out on a weeknight. I even like all the sweating.
Summer is my season.

The summer before last was pretty epic (and I know I am too old to use that word and be taken seriously). But, really it was uh-mazing. I spent a week in the mountains, a week in Vancouver and pretty much the rest of the time at the pool and the lake. It left a lot to live up to. I pushed through a long Spring and an exhausting school year just trying to make it. To summer. I had high hopes for cleaning out my house. Room by room. All the lessons I would plan. All the friends I would see and all the adventures my family would have.

And it was a big fat let down.

June couldn't have sucked more.
Tess had pneumonia twice.
Owen had a weird but serious infection (in the middle of our vacation) that put us in the ER twice.
Someone I loved was murdered.
And my dog died.
Mumford canceled their show and I had tickets.
Many of my friends were going through there own trials which completely dwarfed my own. And even though this is usually my specialty, I was struggling to show up. To know how to help.
I had a bible study fail.
We canceled the cleaning lady.
I waited too long and some of the camps my kids wanted to go to were full. Which is just as good because my bank account was the opposite.
Some new opportunities fell through.
And my kids did not get the memo that during the summer you were supposed to sleep at least until 8 am.

The medical bills added up. Loss surrounded me. And I struggled to figure out how to show up.

The days were long. I did loads of laundry and dishes and swept and took out the trash.
My kids watched hours of cartoons. I watched hours of TNT. And went to dozens of doctors appointments. I read a book a day. It was the summer of my discontent.

Fast forward 3 or so months. Yesterday morning I needed a hoodie for the first time, and not just because my classroom could double as a meat locker.
The first day of fall came and went without me noticing, although I did see a million pictures of pumpkin spice lattes on Instagram. This is pretty much how I knew to go buy my kids a Halloween costume. September was gone before I got used to writing 9s in the date line.  Before I realized it, while I was writing lesson plans, summer completely slipped away. Flip flops have been traded in for really cute boots.
I'm not that into the lattes but I do love long sleeves, soup and not having to shave my legs more than once a week.

Tonight I went for a run. I was enjoying the fact that it was not 100 degrees outside and the first song that came on my ipod was the song that was sang at my friend's funeral. In June.
The tears came before I could stop them, before I even made it off my street and suddenly June felt like a million years ago.

I missed my friend. And his loss has not entirely left me.
And it shouldn't.
But something about that sadness and ache felt foreign. Like it was from a different season.
Because it was.

My summer didn't stay hard.
We went to the beach in July. And the weather reports warned of tropical storms. It predicted rain for days. I packed a pair of blue jeans and checked movie releases.
Instead, the sun shone. We all grew more freckles, got salt in our eyes and sand in between our toes.
I've heard that there are few things in life that salt water can't cure: sweat, tears or the ocean.
My summer was heavy in all three.

I kept running, and missing my friend.
But appreciating how things have changed.
How the hardness of that month has eased. How seasons aren't always marked on the calendar or with flavored syrups at coffee shops. Sometimes they are marked in our hearts.
And sometimes it takes longer than others.
But they change.
Hard days sometimes turn into hard weeks and occasionally into hard months.
Occasionally those months stick together.

But they are seasons.
And seasons are temporary.

The weather changes.
The stores redecorate.
The coffee shops sell you pumpkin spice or peppermint mochas.

It. Gets. Better.
Or maybe it gets worse.
But then it gets better again.

Either way, I am getting coffee.

(this song makes me cry every. single. time. Zane sang it live, and I just remember his slumped shoulders in the pew in front of me.)